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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:11 PM   #1
fskywalker
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Looking to Replace Home Windows Based Desktop With Used Mac Pro: What to Look For

Hi, One of my 2 home's Windows based desktops recently died and am considering to purchase an Mac Desktop as a replacement. I'm familiarized with Apple laptops as we have home a 2012 Air (wife), 2010 MBP 13" (daughter) and 2012 15" rMBP (mine) but not so much on the Apple desktops. We want to re-use the 26 inch Samsung screens (2) were using on the old desktop and am not considering the iMac, but rather focusing on the Mac Pro series. If I want to purchase an used unit, what is the minimum configuration I should look for? I have seen 2009-10 Mac Pro's on the lower $1k range and wonder if they would be a good choice or not.

Thanks,

Francisco
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:17 PM   #2
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Has a Mac mini ever crossed your mind? It uses much less electrical power than a Mac Pro, which gets you saving on your electric bill, but it is still a good performer and even faster than some basic Mac Pros.

Or have you looked at the Refurbished Mac section in the Apple Online Store for slightly older Mac Pros?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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What will be the typical use of the computer? This is important.

A Mac Mini would probably work well unless your wife is counting on it for really intensive work or games.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:49 PM   #4
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Use will be primarily Ms Office applications and web browsing (YouTube, FaceBook, etc.)
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:57 PM   #5
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Use will be primarily Ms Office applications and web browsing (YouTube, FaceBook, etc.)
Then a Mac mini is more than fine, no need for a workstation computer to do that task.

A Mac mini can drive two monitors, it has a Mini DisplayPort and HDMI out, thus you may only need an adapter to connect your two monitors.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. What configuration I should look for?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 02:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input. What configuration I should look for?
The base Mac mini should do more than fine, but if you might want a faster CPU, you could look at the quad core mini.
Hell, even a 2010 Mac mini will work for you.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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What should be a fair price for a slightly used MD387LL/A Mini (October 2012 release)?

thanks
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fskywalker View Post
What should be a fair price for a slightly used MD387LL/A Mini (October 2012 release)?
I am sure people at Mac mini Forum could better answer your question.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fskywalker View Post
Hi, One of my 2 home's Windows based desktops recently died and am considering to purchase an Mac Desktop as a replacement. I'm familiarized with Apple laptops as we have home a 2012 Air (wife), 2010 MBP 13" (daughter) and 2012 15" rMBP (mine) but not so much on the Apple desktops. We want to re-use the 26 inch Samsung screens (2) were using on the old desktop and am not considering the iMac, but rather focusing on the Mac Pro series. If I want to purchase an used unit, what is the minimum configuration I should look for? I have seen 2009-10 Mac Pro's on the lower $1k range and wonder if they would be a good choice or not.

Thanks,

Francisco

If you have never owned a Macintosh tower, I think you would be in for a treat. They are really, really nice machines. The Mac mini has its place, but it doesn't compare to the Mac Pro IMO.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fskywalker View Post
What should be a fair price for a slightly used MD387LL/A Mini (October 2012 release)?

thanks
Mac2Sell, Gazelle or eBay (Việt Nam, Türkiye, Česká republika, Hanguk) might be good price checkers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeybagel View Post
If you have never owned a Macintosh tower, I think you would be in for a treat. They are really, really nice machines. The Mac mini has its place, but it doesn't compare to the Mac Pro IMO.
But the Mac Pro would be more than overpowered for the stated needs of the OP (post #4), thus a Mac mini is the better choice, unless one has too much money and can buy a four or eight core workstation to run MS Office and also can easily live with the additional electric bill costs such Mac Pro would accumulate during rendering those spreadsheets.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 12:37 AM   #12
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The mac mini is probably your best bet. It'll run significantly faster than old model mac pros and is relatively cheap. The reason to run a mac pro is simple, you have large work loads which require running a computer for endless hours at max capacity.

If you're a casual user, or you're not a member of a small subset of professional users, then you look at iMacs and mac minis.

From my experience, it's quite rare to run into someone that owns a mac pro that actually needs a mac pro for their work. More often than not, former pc owners and old stock mac users assume the tower to be the default machine.

The mac mini is not some netbook. The quad core mini can more than adequately handle the work loads of many people using mac pros.

I tend to think many people use mac pros because of a perceived prestige of ownership, a preference for towers, or a gross misunderstanding of their own computing needs. Of course, then you find people that actually need a mac pro, and they're a different breed entirely.

Check out the mac mini, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 03:58 PM   #13
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Thanks. I think will look for a MD387LL/A model. I noticed Apple says it comes with a video adapter, but mot sure which one. If my 2 Samsung monitors have DVI inputs, what accessory will I need to connect it?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 04:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fskywalker View Post
Thanks. I think will look for a MD387LL/A model. I noticed Apple says it comes with a video adapter, but mot sure which one. If my 2 Samsung monitors have DVI inputs, what accessory will I need to connect it?

Thanks!
It comes with an HDMI to DVI adapter, all you need is an additional Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

Quote:
Mini DisplayPort (MDP) / Thunderbolt
Mini DisplayPort is the current digital standard on all current Macs to transfer video to an external display or TV. It has been introduced in 10/2008 with the release of the Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pros and has gradually been adopted on all other Macs.
MDP is capable of transmitting video, and since 2010, audio too. MDP is a miniaturised version of DisplayPort. It is also license free and can support resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600, which Mini DVI and Micro DVI are not able to do.
Since 2011, all Macs come with a Thunderbolt port, which is meant for fast data transfer and also as means to connect to an external display device to mirror or extend the Mac's screen.
To learn more about Thunderbolt (TB) and its compatibility with Mini DisplayPort (MDP): Introducing Thunderbolt
MDP adapters and cables can be bought online from:
Apple Online Store (or the physical Apple Store)
Monoprice
Also of interest: "What is "Mini DisplayPort"? Is it an industry-standard? How is it different from or better than Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI?"
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 04:56 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info. Looking at the rear panel of the Mac Mini I understand the supplied adapter would go on the HDMI port. I don't see a Mini Display Port in the back of the unit, but rather a Thunderbolt port. Does the second video adapter can be fed from the Thunderbolt port?




I have one more question. I have a 256GB SSD from my Retina MacBook Pro on an external enclosure since swap it with a bigger (512GB) unit shortly after I purchased the laptop. Can I somehow install it on the Mac Mini? I noticed there ia an option for an SSD from Apple but wonder what is the connector would need to adapt it.

Thanks,

Francisco
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Last edited by fskywalker; Feb 17, 2013 at 05:24 PM.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 05:34 PM   #16
simsaladimbamba
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Originally Posted by fskywalker View Post
Thanks for the info. Looking at the rear panel of the Mac Mini I understand the supplied adapter would go on the HDMI port. I don't see a Mini Display Port in the back of the unit, but rather a Thunderbolt port. Does the second video adapter can be fed from the Thunderbolt port?

Image


I have one more question. I have a 256GB SSD from my Retina MacBook Pro on an external enclosure since swap it with a bigger (512GB) unit shortly after I purchased the laptop. Can I somehow install it on the Mac Mini? I noticed there ia an option for an SSD from Apple but wonder what is the connector would need to adapt it.

Thanks,

Francisco
Since the following part seems to overlooked again and again
Quote:
To learn more about Thunderbolt (TB) and its compatibility with Mini DisplayPort (MDP): Introducing Thunderbolt
here is a more obvious explanation:
To learn more about Thunderbolt (TB) and its compatibility with Mini DisplayPort (MDP):
Quote:
And because Thunderbolt is based on DisplayPort technology, the video standard for high-resolution displays, any Mini DisplayPort display plugs right into the Thunderbolt port. To connect a DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA display, just use an existing adapter.
And yes, the TB port also supports audio out via an appropriate MDP > HDMI adapter, but then again, you have an HDMI out already.

As for the rest of the question, I answered it here in your other thread.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 07:20 PM   #17
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I have a question related to displays:

I have a graphics card on my PC that has two dual link DVI outputs, and I have two HP LP3065 30" displays connected to it, and it works perfectly. Card is a nVidia 8800GTX.

I recently purchased a mid 2010 mac pro, comes with the ati 5770. This card has just one DVI output. I have to connect my two 30" monitors, but I've heard the the mini display port to DVI adapter can be flickery.

Finally, my question: Is there any graphics card out there with 2 DVI ports for the mac pro, that can run my two 30" monitors at their native 2560x1600 resolution?
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 05:20 PM   #18
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Well, I answered my own question: Just purchased the nVidia GeForce GTX285 1GB for macs. Perfect for two 30" monitors connected via DVI cables.
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